By JAMES KUNDA –
THE Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has so far offloaded over 200,000 tonnes of maize for sale to millers and selected communities, to stabilise the prices of mealie-meal in the country.
Agriculture and Livestock Deputy Minister Greyford Monde said the maize was made available from the Strategic Grain Reserve where the FRA had stored over 400,000 tonnes of the commodity.
Mr Monde said 150, 000 tonnes of the grain has been sold to the millers while the remainder was retailed to selected communities in far flung areas.
“From the time the marketing season commenced, FRA has offloaded over 200,000 tonnes of maize from the grain reserves onto the market.
The bulk of this in excess of 150,000 tonnes has been offloaded to the millers while the rest has been sold to the community,” Mr Monde said.
He said the price of mealie-meal was still high in some parts of the country as this was being fuelled by the over dependence on private millers.
Mr Monde said private millers only had the aim to maximise on their profits opposed to focusing on the role that the staple food played in the lives of ordinary Zambians.
“This is why other local entrepreneurs should consider investing more in milling to promote competition and reduced prices,” he said.
And in a related development, Mr Monde said the Government has continued to export excess maize to countries in need provided each consignment was paid for upfront.
He said countries such as Zimbabwe, Malawi and Tanzania were still receiving maize from Zambia thorough Government-to-Government agreements.
Zambia would export 150,000 tonnes of maize to Zimbabwe, 35,000 tonnes to Malawi and 20,000 tonnes to Tanzania.